You are not going to believe some of the things that the U.S. government is spending money on. According to a shocking new report, U.S. taxpayer money is being spent to study World of Warcraft, to study how Americans find love on the Internet, and to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam. Not only that, but money from the federal government is also being used to renovate a pizzeria in Iowa and to help a library in Tennessee host video game parties. These are just some of the examples in a new report on government waste from Senator Tom Coburn entitled "Wastebook 2010". Even as tens of millions of American families find themselves suffering through the worst economic downturn in modern history, the U.S. government continues to spend money on some of the craziest and most frivolous things imaginable. Every single year articles are written and news stories are done about the horrific government waste that is taking place and yet every single year it just keeps getting worse. So just what in the world is going on here?
It almost seems as though Congress actually enjoys inventing new ways to waste U.S. taxpayer money. It seems nearly inconceivable that anyone could keep a straight face while trying to justify spending money on many of the things in the list below.
At a time when the U.S. national debt is closing in on 14 trillion dollars, government waste just seems more out of control than ever. The following are 20 of the craziest things that the U.S. government is spending money on....
#1 A total of $3 million has been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft. The goal of this "video game research" is reportedly to study how "emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace."
#2 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the University of New Hampshire $700,000 this year to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.
#3 $615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.
#4 A professor at Stanford University received $239,100 to study how Americans use the Internet to find love. So far one of the key findings of this "research" is that the Internet is a safer and more discreet way to find same-sex partners.
#5 The National Science Foundation spent $216,000 to study whether or not politicians "gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions."
#6 The National Institutes of Health spent approximately $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.
#7 Approximately $1 million of U.S. taxpayer money was used to create poetry for the Little Rock, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago zoos. The goal of the "poetry" is to help raise awareness on environmental issues.
#8 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent $175 million during 2010 to maintain hundreds of buildings that it does not even use. This includes a pink, octagonal monkey house in the city of Dayton, Ohio.
#9 $1.8 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars went for a "museum of neon signs" in Las Vegas, Nevada.
#10 $35 million was reportedly paid out by Medicare to 118 "phantom" medical clinics that never even existed. Apparently these "phantom" medical clinics were established by a network of criminal gangs as a way to defraud the U.S. government.
#11 The Conservation Commission of Monkton, Vermont got $150,000 from the federal government to construct a "critter crossing". Thanks to U.S. government money, the lives of "thousands" of migrating salamanders are now being saved.
#12 In California, one park received $440,000 in federal funds to perform "green energy upgrades" on a building that has not been used for a decade.
#13 $440,955 was spent this past year on an office for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that he rarely even visits.
#14 One Tennessee library was given $5,000 in federal funds to host a series of video game parties.
#15 The U.S. Census Bureau spent $2.5 million on a television commercial during the Super Bowl that was so poorly produced that virtually nobody understood what is was trying to say.
#16 A professor at Dartmouth University received $137,530 to create a "recession-themed" video game entitled "Layoff".
#17 The National Science Foundation gave the Minnesota Zoo over $600,000 so that they could develop an online video game called "Wolfquest".
#18 A pizzeria in Iowa was given $60,000 to renovate the pizzeria's facade and give it a more "inviting feel".
#19 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave one enterprising group of farmers $30,000 to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight "haycations". This one sounds like something that Dwight Schrute would have dreamed up.
#20 Almost unbelievably, the National Institutes of Health was given $800,000 in "stimulus funds" to study the impact of a "genital-washing program" on men in South Africa.
In light of all this, is it any wonder why the approval rating of Congress recently hit another new record low?
According to the most recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of Americans approve of the job that Congress is doing.
Just think about that - only 13 percent!
Our politicians seem very confused about why there is so much anger in the country today. Well, there are certainly a lot of reasons for it, including the fact that the U.S. economy is on the verge of collapse, but it certainly doesn't help that our government is basically flushing our tax dollars down the toilet and spending them on some of the most wasteful things imaginable.
It would be bad enough if the federal government was swimming in money, but the truth is that all of this waste is being committed at a time when the U.S. government is nearing bankruptcy.
Over the last 30 years, the U.S. national debt has gotten 13 times larger. We have accumulated the largest debt in the history of the world and there is no end in sight.
In fact, we are rapidly running out of people to borrow money from. According to the Wall Street Journal, in order to repay maturing bonds and finance the exploding budget deficit, the U.S. government will have to borrow 4.2 trillion dollars in 2011.
Eventually the rest of the world is going to lose confidence in the ability of the U.S. government to repay all of this debt. Once confidence in U.S. Treasuries is totally gone, and there are already signs this is starting to happen, the game will be over and the U.S. financial system will collapse.
But the U.S. Congress just continues to act like it is "business as usual" and the wasteful spending just continues to get worse. Someday historians will look back and think that we must have been a nation full of idiots and morons.
For decades our politicians have been spending us into oblivion, yet we keep sending the vast majority of them back to Washington D.C. every time an election rolls around and the mainstream media keeps assuring us that our "respected leaders" know exactly what they are doing and that everything is going to be okay somehow.
It is almost as if some sort of collective insanity has overtaken most Americans. The path we are on inevitably leads to national bankruptcy and the destruction of our financial system, but only a small percentage of the population seems to care.
Well, in the end we will reap what we have sown. Unfortunately, the economic pain that is coming is going to be devastating for all of us - including those of us who are awake and are trying desperately to change things.